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stay at work mom

Oh my God. My mom was right about everything.

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When it hits you, it really hits you. It wasn’t when I became an adult. It happened after my first child was born.

I realized the (sometimes painful) truth that my mom was right. About everything.

She was right that there is no rule book, or even cliff notes, on how to raise a child.

She was right that when you watch a movie, you suddenly start identifying with the mom character.

She was right you shouldn’t give your kids everything they want all at once.

She was right that you’ll find Play-Doh years after it’s been played with, and in places you didn’t think it was.

She was right that skipping that nap was a bad idea.

She was right that sometimes you’re lucky to get them to school. Bonus points is they still have their shoes on. Extra bonus if you got shoes on them in the first place.

She was right that if one gets sick, you’ll all get sick.

She was right that you’ll never know exhaustion like a mom with a cholicky baby.

She was right that too much candy is a bad thing. The same goes for cake and cookies.

She was right the smell of throw up will never fully leave your car.

She was right that it takes a village… And sometimes a small army.

She was right that your kids would be payback for the childhood you led.

She was right you’d worry about the unknown. All. The. Time.

She was right that you shouldn’t dye your own hair, unless you are blessed with those skills.

She was right that sometimes all you need is chocolate.

She was right that your marriage would change when you have kids, and that you’d have to make time for each other.

She was right that it will be hard, but you’ll learn to balance it all.

She was right that hell hath no fury than a mom whose kids are threatened.

She was right that you’ll never pray more than you do for your kids.

She was right that there’s enough love for your spouse and however many kids you decide to have.

She was right you’d never go to the bathroom alone.

She was right that you’ll understand why mamma bear’s porridge was cold.

She was right that they grow up too fast.

She was right that you have to soak up every moment.

She was right your instincts carry you a lot of the way.

She was right you’ll feel every bump, scratch and boo boo.

She was right that you’ll find your groove and your mom group – both are irreplaceable.

She was right that you make it up as you go.

She was right that it’s worth every minute.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. You were right.

Stay At Work Mom’s Apps to Keep You Sane During the Holidays

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Work. Travel. Shopping. Baking. Juggling Schedules: These are all things the Stay At Work Mom experiences during the holidays.

The struggle is real. But these apps will keep your life a little more sane and a little more organized so you can spend time on the things you really want.

Food Mom

1. Allrecipes

This app has saved my life on more than one occasion – my mother-in-law asks me to bring XX to the family get together… I need a quick dessert for a neighbors holiday party. The ratings are usually pretty accurate. Plus, it makes deciding on dinner simple when you’re on the way home from the office.

2. Pepperplate

Everyone has family recipes that they want to keep handy. Pepperplate helps you organize all your recipes that aren’t online, and save the rest of your favorites from online sources. I’ve even added my entertaining recipe lineup from my favorite cookbook, Baked. Hint: It’s not an app, but they have awesome recipes for entertaining.

 

Travel Mom

3. TripCase

All your travel plans in one app. Every avid traveler knows to use this app. And if you’re juggling kids, luggage, snacks, etc., it’ll keep you sane. There’s also a version for your Apple Watch that lets you get your updates without ever picking up your phone.

4. Routehappy

Do you need to stay connected on the road? Routehappy can do just that. Instead of listing flights just by price, they are listed by Wi-Fi quality, device charging options and roomy seats – all the amenities a Stay At Work Mom needs.

 

Work Mom

5. CubeFree

If your family holiday is a little like Christmas Vacation, and you need to get away to get some work done, check out CubeFree. It’ll show you quiet and connected places in your area, including cafes and co-working spaces. The ratings are great too.

6. Trello

This one is for the Type A Stay At Work Moms out there. Trello will keep all your projects – work or home – organized. You can also include your colleagues or spouse on projects and assign tasks.

7. Wunderlist

Do you get a thousand texts from your spouse or kids asking you to pick up something from the store? Add them to your Wunderlist, and you’ll never get those texts again. You can share lists and tasks with your family to make sure you never forget anything again.

It’s “Icemageddon.” Must be the perfect time to have another child.

You know how parents always hold over their kids heads, “we walked barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, to have you.” Well, we did. Twice.

Side note: If we ever decided to have a third kid, we would definitely not have another winter baby. I hope.

It was December, well before we usually see a first freeze in North Texas.

Then it happened. Again.

“Earlier this week, many in Texas were basking in spring-like temperatures that hit the 80s,” said an article on Yahoo! “But by Thursday, Texas was facing the same wintry blast that has slammed much of the U.S., bringing frigid temperatures, ice and snow.”

At least this time, we knew she’d be coming in the Icemageddon. (Snowpacalypse had already been taken, so North Texas chose the next best option.)

We sent our oldest to my parents and prepped them that like K, she would probably make a similar appearance.

And she did, but this time with as much flair and drama that she brings in her toddlerhood.

I started having some early labor pains and frantically began shooting off last minute projects, emails and nonsense for staff in my soon-to-be-absence.

Shortly after I went into labor, we just headed to the hospital. We knew better. It was early, we knew, but we weren’t getting stuck.

After several hours of almost nothing, my doctor sent us back home, on the ice.

We shouldn’t have listened, but a shower and a nap sounded nice.

Within 15 minutes of being home, my water broke and I quickly jumped from active labor to transitional labor (the part at the very end that really sucks without an epidural. For my friends who did it without drugs, I salute you).

We barely made it to the hospital. I fell out of the car and was carried in by Super Dad and another random guy (I didn’t get a chance to ask his name or thank him for carrying me across the hospital. I’m not even sure he was a guy, actually). Then, made her appearance in the world a few moments later.

Awesome.

The good news: we left all the faucets on this time.

Big brother meets baby sister. Love at first sight.
Big brother meets baby sister. Love at first sight.

Stay At Work Mom’s 2015 Holiday Gift Giving Guide!!!

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I have the luck of having my birthday in November, followed by M’s birthday a few weeks before Christmas, then Christmas. So our birthday/Christmas wish-listing and shopping starts early.

Like many parents, we try to follow The Four Gift Rule with the kids.

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Along with this, we spend the holidays (and throughout the year), finding creative ways to give back… but that’s for another blog post.

Take a peak at my holiday gift giving guide below.

FOR THE FOOD MOM

Chef Inspired Spiceologist Block – $159.95

I have an obsession with test tube spices, and this one is beautiful!

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FOR THE TECH MOM

Apple Watch with the Antique White Sport Band – $349.00

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I realize I’m Captain Obvious here, but this watch is legit. With the latest upgrades, it keeps track of how much you move – and hopefully gets you moving more too.

 

FOR THE TIRED MOM (OR DAD)

A Deep Tissue Massage – $60-$200

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Let’s be honest. A massage is a great gift for anyone, at any time. Find a great massage therapist in your area and go for it.

 

FOR THE TRAVEL MOM

Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flat – $225.00

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These travel flats fold up nicely in your purse or bag, and will keep your feet happy when heading from the airport to meetings or around town. The come in a variety of colors too.

 

FOR THE KIDS

Joyfolie Emerson Boots – $59.99

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Joyfolie has a great selection for beautiful clothes, boots, shoes and accessories for little girls. It’s sugar and spice and everything nice.

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Goodnight Books – $9.95

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I tend to pick these up in the airport when I’m traveling, but they are available at any bookstore. The kids love Goodnight Books. They have them for states, major cities, mom and dad, etc. They are perfect for your toddler or preschooler.

Brand Socialites Summit, CPR and virtual hugs

The second day was much like the first – incredible. In case you missed the first day, it’s here.

On day two, we were still standing.

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We kicked off the morning talking about career paths. The big question: Are we all destined to become consultants? For some, maybe. But we are in a wonderful industry that lets us mold our careers.

Also, you should interview once a quarter, even if you aren’t planning to leave. It helps staff weed out the people who are going to jump ship any way, it tests your skills and keeps you aware of what’s out there.

Executive sponsors are the lifeblood of a successful social media program. We are too.

A lot of tools are similar, you have to find one that fits your organization’s needs and culture.

Influencers are fantastic to boost affinity for your brand. Treat them like people, because they are.

Target social ads with your own data, with other people’s data… but always target and test variations of the creative.

Facebook works well for pre- and post-event pushes, but experiment with Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat during.

Considering we’re leading social media for some of the largest brands in the country, there was little tweeting and a lot of connecting. Sometimes it’s great to disconnect, and be present.

For the recorded story of tweets (because like I said, we weren’t much for tweeting):

 

 

 

A Lesson in Leadership: Things I learned from a great leader

When you leave an organization, what will people say? Will they gossip about your failures, or will they mourn your loss?

If it’s the latter, you are probably a great leader. I’ve had the wonderful privilege of working for one. When he left, we definitely mourned. Over the last few years, my mentor managed crises, supported staff and inspired his team to do things we would have never imagined. I’ve watched closely, and have tried to implement those characteristics into my management style. He always made it look easy, but I know he made a conscious decision to care for his team every day.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1. Family first.

This one is easier to tell your team to do than to do yourself. Work is important, and if you love your job, it’s easy to do. But it’s a job. And it can’t take care of you when you’re old. At the end of the day, family matters more – every time. Turn off and tune in.

2. Learn how to tell a great story.

Stories can engage your imagination. One of my favorite talks from my mentor was about his vision for the future. Every time he gave the presentation he would read the audience and tailor it for them – speeding up sections if they were losing interest, or going more in-depth if the audience was engaged. And today, we still talk about it.

Another great example of fantastic storytelling are TED talks. They explain often complicated subjects in a very energizing and memorable way. This is one of my favorites:


3. Sometimes you just need to listen.

At the beginning of every update, my mentor always asked about the kids, my husband or what was going on in life. He also remembered what I told him. It was a simple gesture, but one that I will always carry on.

4. Be authentic and transparent.

He didn’t beat around the bush. You always knew what was on his mind. And for that reason, I always trusted him to be honest. I still do.

5. Be loyal to build loyalty.

A good leader fights for his or her staff. I often have crazy ideas – I’m all for “failing fast” or finding success and learning from both. I always think about one that went all the way to our board. He fought for me all the way up. I saw him do that for my colleagues day-after-day. And because he had our back, we’ll always have his.

6. Be visible.

He would always say to be visible. Practice what you preach. Show your team what you want to see in them. If you can’t live to your standards, they’ll never buy in.

7. Stay calm.

We’re in communications. We deal with crises. When we’ve been in the trenches and urgency is pressing in, he has always been calm and resolute. Even if I would be under a lot of stress, he would calmly help me think through a solution.

8. Take risks.

I came to the organization when social media and digital was still a new thing to the organization. My role wasn’t in his background, so I would often ask him to take a risk and trust me. While I “failed fast” a few times, we certainly nailed it a lot. And we’re better because of it. I taught him a thing or two. And he taught me it’s OK to trust and leap.

9. Show kindness, even when people don’t deserve it.

I watched this one in awe. Sometimes people make stupid mistakes that can be costly to their career or their personal lives. My mentor had a fantastic way of addressing an issue; but made it a quiet, teachable moment for people. As I work through my career, I often take a step back and think how he would address it. I always see better results.

10. Be hands on, but hands off.

He would bring coffee, stuff bags for media drops or pick up trash. Not once did he complain. But he gave us the space to do our thing and produce results. So, we did. By being willing to get the job done, he earned the respect and loyalty of everyone who worked with him.

 

5 Tips To Carry-On Travel

When I travel, I make it a goal to only bring a carry on and my computer bag.

No, really.

I hate checking luggage… I don’t want to wait on my bag after a long flight. I know how it will be cared for if it’s in my possession.

I’ve been to Europe, the Carribean and dozens of cities with my carry on. Along the way, I’ve picked up a few things that make packing and traveling light simple. So, I’ll pass them along to you.

1. Choose luggage with flair.
My carry on is a bright purple bag with four wheels. It’s seen better days, but is still simple to maneuver through airports, cabs and down the street. No one would ever confuse it with their bag (or let’s be honest, want to steal it).

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2. If the hotel provides it, don’t bring it.
Shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wash, hair dryer… If you stay at a decent hotel, the hotel stuff is just fine. I do bring my travel toothbrush and flat iron, but the rest I can make do with what the hotel offers.

3. Bring just enough to get you by.
No one will notice if you wear the same pants twice. Start with everything you “think” you need. Cut it in half. Then, mix and match. Also, one jacket will do.

4. It’s the roll. Learn it.
And she’s right. Use your dusters too.

5. You really don’t need all those shoes… Really.
Just like No. 3, think versatile. I usually pack two shoes: one casual (like my TOMS) and one dressy (like a black pair of pumps or the new Tory Burch travel flats).

Remember this doesn’t include what came on your feet! And that pair is most often an in-between and the bulkiest.

What are your tips for packing light?

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Full disclaimer: if we’re traveling with the kiddos, we check. We have to check car seats anyway… So we might as well bring as little as possible on the plane – like some snacks, an iPad and a couple small (quiet) toys.

5 things I like less than sleep

Teething.

It’s happening in our household. And last night, M was up. All. Night.

In honor of the fact that I can barely put a sentence together, I’d like to offer you five things I like less than sleep (the today version. Because it will be different after a good night’s sleep or two.)

P.S. I’ve been hitting caffeine for hours by now.

1. My cellphone

During the day, I may be glued to it. But today, I’d trade it in for sleep – without a doubt.


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2. Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? After all it’s good for your heart. Usually, I’m like this:


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But today, I’m like this:


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3. A Good Chick-Flick

Chick flicks get a bad rap. They are heart-warming. They are funny. They would never happen in real life. And even now, I like them less than sleep.


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4. Wine

One glass of wine would put me into a coma right now. Although, maybe that’s not a bad thing.


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5. Sex

Because this:

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The one that comes first

Eeeks! My first blog post. This is one of those moments that I may regret when Timehop comes around every year… but for now, I’m so stinkin’ excited to meet you!

Here’s the deal:

Let’s get this out of the way now. I’m one of those moms who popped out two beautiful kids and kept working any way. They call me a “Stay-at-work mom.” It’s perfect for our family – just like other families where mom or dad decide to stay home. Don’t give me the side-eye.

I should be featured on Pinterest fails. Luckily, they haven’t found my mishaps… yet. If you don’t tell, I’ll share them with you.

I have the wonderful privilege of working in tech for a nonprofit and meeting people every single day who inspire me. I cry regularly at work because of it. Our brand team uses it as a litmus test for good content.

I also get to travel for work and/or leisure. I’ll take both. When I was breastfeeding, I pumped in dozens of airport bathrooms and on planes. Mom problems. Anyway, I’ve always had a case of wanderlust.

And with that comes a craving for culture, food and wine. I’ve even hit up a couple Plum packets with a glass of wine for dinner in the past. Like I said, no side-eye. You know you’ve done it too.

My good sense of fashion usually comes from my husband who worked in high-end retail for a number of years and is my personal stylist. I’ll take a Gucci bag and pair of Jimmy Choos any day! Of course, good finds can be found at Target too.

I have a group of mom friends who are just as crazy as I am, and one of the only reasons I’m not in therapy. My husband – or as he prefers to be called, Super Dad – is the other reason.

Many of my conversations start out with, “So I have a funny story.” This one is the same.

So, here we are. Let’s be friends. I’ll toast you wherever you are.

Cheers!

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